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CHRISTIANITY

ACTIVE STILLNESS

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

I love the song STILL by Hillsong, especially the chorus where it says “When the oceans rise and thunders roar, I will soar with You above the storm. Father, you are king over the flood. I will be still and know you are God.” My wife and I found a Tagalog version of this song. It’s not translated word for word, but the thought of the song is expressed more accurately, in my personal opinion. The Tagalog version of the chorus goes like this “Suliranin man ay dumating (Even if predicaments come our way) Ikaw lamang O Diyos ang sasambahin (I will praise you alone O God) Panginoon ko sayo lamang, mananatili kalian pa man (Forever I will remain still in You o Lord).” I know, it’s not a very accurate translation, but the song is not the point.

Whenever I am confronted by verses that command me to BE STILL and get a grip on my anxious soul, I always think of just giving up. Most people would even say LET GO AND LET GOD and it always feels like a last resort. It’s like driving your car until it runs out of gas and then letting the momentum take you wherever. Subconsciously, I have equated being STILL to passively quitting. Que sera sera – whatever happens, happens. This was my mentality before I was confronted by a sermon preached in church just recently about INTENTIONAL GROWTH.

We Christians are saved by God’s grace alone. Our faith and understanding of God is also a gift that is made possible by the ministry of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truths (John 16:13). We are privileged to understand spiritual things because we were permitted to understand spiritual things. When it comes to our spiritual growth, we are commanded to endure and show character in the light of hardship and persecution (Heb 12:7). Even Jesus said to love those who persecute us (Mat 5:44). So where does being STILL fit in this scenario of INTENTIONAL GROWTH?

I believe that being still is not passive in nature. Remember Jesus telling the storm to BE STILL? It required great power. The power that Jesus initially veiled as He lived His life as a human being (Phil 2:6-7). He had the power, He was just not flaunting it. In our case, we have that same power in Christ and we should recognize it. Being STILL requires an active understanding of God’s character and how He directly affects our lives. Being STILL is not giving up but pressing on and moving towards the goal that was set before us. Being STILL is a calling to pursue holiness in the midst of pain and corruption. Being STILL is our best option during times of uncertainty.

When we start to choose to be still, change is never guaranteed. Peace, on the other hand, can be attained in our STILLNESS. I love how the Apostle Paul told the believers in Philippi that God’s peace is beyond their comprehension and is able to guard our hearts and minds as we live in Christ (Phil 4:7).

As my wife and I go through rivers of doubts during her pregnancy, I pray for God’s sustaining grace as we attempt to intentionally grow in Him and actively pursue being STILL.

Photo by Sunyu on Unsplash

Categories
CHRISTIANITY

ENHANCED SPIRITUAL QUARANTINE

After weeks of being quarantined because of the rising COVID-19 dilemma, people have resorted to social media as their source of entertainment and frustration. People would often like, comment, post, and share things that do not go well with everyone. People from the extreme left would refute people from the utmost right, and vice versa. And if you’re neutral, you become prey to both parties. The heavy desire of people to connect through social media would sometimes push us to become hateful, vindictive and just plain rude.

Don’t mistake my introduction as a sign of empathy or neutrality, because I have my own take on what is happening around us. I am just choosing to shut up. A handful of family and friends are the only people I prefer to share my insights. They know me well enough to rebuke me or encourage me in love, especially when my unsolicited opinion is suddenly shared on Facebook. But as I extend my time in social media, my mental and emotional state is slowly deteriorating. I feel stress is beginning to brew in the recesses of my soul.

Step back.

In a time when social distancing is urged, I firmly believe that SOCIAL MEDIA DISTANCING should be more encouraged. It’s high time for us, Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ, to step back from the thinking of the world. Apostle Paul said it perfectly to the Christians of the Roman Empire – “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” (Romans 12:1a NIV) Do not walk like the heathens do. Don’t talk like the unbelievers do. A higher calling is expected from us, and anything less is unacceptable. Anything less is plainly a violation of God’s integrity. Anything less is a sin. So if your social media account becomes so unbearable, and your notion of justice and fairness is being challenged with every post you read, then take the Biblical route. Don’t react like the world, but respond like Jesus. Master the art of compassion, and let God take your Christianity to the next level.

Reset.

“…but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1b NIV) Stepping back is just the first step. Now is the hard part – changing. Transformation comes from a renovation of our thinking. My dad is in construction, and I remember him telling his foreman during a renovation of a building to TAKE DOWN FOUNDATIONS WITH COMPROMISED INTEGRITY and replace them with new ones. When our worldview is not founded on absolute truth, then integrity is sure to be compromised. If sin has caused the damage, then let’s confess our sins and let God cleanse us from all our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Confession of sin is another way of stepping back and acknowledging that something needs to change. Don’t let the quicksand of social media hate pull you down a lifestyle void of compassion. Repent and be transformed. Continue your journey to a more pleasing and gracious version of you.

Dive right back.

With a better understanding of God’s love and grace, we have a better chance of surviving out there. I’m not saying that we will be able to withstand everything life will throw at us, but we “…will be able to test and approve what God’s will is…” (Romans 12:1c) That is what matters. Even Jesus, the third person of the Godhead, wanted what God the Father has intended for Him. Jesus earnestly prayed to God – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV) YET NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE. Once every thought in our minds is fixed unto Jesus, and we slowly build a mental capacity to somehow grasp on to the Sovereignty, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Love of our God, then we start to surrender everything to God. We lift up both hands in submission, knowing that God, in His unwavering righteousness, perfect justice, and absolute sovereignty, has everything in control. Whatever the government decrees, God has assured us that “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord…” (Proverbs 21:1a KJV). Whoever wishes us ill, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” (Psalm 118:6 KJV).

Stay rooted.

As we dive back into the social media stream, let us remain in Christ…and only by the grace of God can we remain in Him! Do not let the hate-filled comments, the burdening posts, and the discouraging news take you away from our stand in Jesus. Be armed with compassion and integrity, and “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV) It’s harder than it seems, but always know that when we fail and fall – Step back, reset, dive back in, and pray to God that we stay rooted.

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

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CHRISTIANITY

FEARDEMIC

These are trying times.

Here in our part of the world, our government has declared a nationwide community quarantine to curb the increasing number of people affected by COVID-19. We have been locked in our homes for almost a week, and I can feel anxiety creeping up on me. Not just about the current scare of being infected and even the possibility of my loved ones getting the virus, but the aftermath of this whole ordeal. Stocks have been in a freefall and businesses, big and small, are starting to lay off employees just to stay afloat.

I’ve been hearing of a great worldwide recession that’s coming, even bigger than what caused the great depression. Analysts from all over are trying to predict the economic pulse of the world after the pandemic. Everyone is looking for stability. Everyone is looking for security. I, for one, am guilty of this.

So what should we do?

Maybe after this sentence, you will hit the back button and look for another article to read. Still, I would like to tell you this – It’s time to anchor our stability and security on God! Yes, I am the kind of person who has built my entire belief system on the One Who created the heavens and the earth. I am a follower of Christ. But, that doesn’t mean that I am well off. In reality, fear is my go-to emotion. I’m not proud of it, but I need to address it. That is the whole point of this whole article.

From the start of the pandemic, fear has been slowly taking hold of my core beliefs. Slowly demolishing the system of beliefs that I have been learning all throughout my life. Biblical precepts were slowly being unloaded because of my unbelief. Fear took away my peace…and that opened a whole new level of internal problems for me. Panic and anger ensued. I was spiraling downwards…and I was risking the peace of my family too. I had to bounce back.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

This passage gave me the opportunity to bounce back. God was offering a peace that was beyond comprehension. The kind of peace that will bound my thinking towards Jesus. So, when the writer of Hebrews told us to FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS (Heb 12:2), it was under the premise of gaining God’s gift of peace. If it was just up to us, fear will never depart from us. Remember, the spirit of fear is not from God (2 Tim 1:7). Peace is what God has in store for us.

Now, I don’t know when all of this will end. I have no clue what will happen next. I’m just taking it one day at a time…because today’s trouble is enough for today! (Matt 6:34)